Introduction to Couture tailoring

Hello again! I had mention in my post Summary of 2018 that recently I completed my first ever self drafted jacket. What is more excited about this make is that I dipped my toes in some unknown territory and used some couture techniques. I am amazed by how much goes into a tailor made clothes!!!

I am reading and re-reading books I have at home to understand all techniques used by tailors and slowly starting to practice it to gain and enhance this new skills.

What I had realized so far is that the approach  in my books is very similar, but some construction steps, choice of interfacing, use of equipment or handling of the fabric  may vary, hence I will take it more as a guide and not set in stone rules.


Machine method

For this project I mainly used the book “TAILORING- Classic guide to sewing the perfect jacket”, because it explains how to construct a tailored jacket using 3 different methods: custom method ( traditional tailoring hand stitching of a horsehair canvas), machine method ( attaching the horsehair canvas by machine) and fusible method ( using fusible interfacing instead of horsehair canvas).

This was the first time I had ever used horsehair interfacing, hence decided to try the machine method, as it is less time consuming, but still gives me some understanding of how the canvas behaves and affects the main fabric.



There is a specific sequence for assembling a tailoring jacket and it starts with shaping of the collar. I must admit that this is done in completely different way then I am used to, but the end result shows the difference.

To add body and shape to the collar the interfacing should be only added to undercollar piece and the undercollar stand which also supports the total weight of the collar.

Interfacing canvas is cut without the seam allowance and  machine stitched on the under-collarstand around every 5mm. Next, it needed to be placed on tailors ham and steamed to create a desired shaping.


Similar process is completed on the undercollar piece with the exception of the stitching  lines. Then both parts are attached together and shaped once more on the tailors ham.


Next step is to shape the front of the jacket.

The front interfacing piece was drafted using a front pattern pieces as a base, but without the princess and waist seams. It curves above the bust to underarms. Additional shoulder reinforcement is cut on the bias and applied to the front interfacing piece by stitching straight lines every 2 cm.

I minimized the process of shaping the front of the jacket only to two steps of interfacing, because I chose not to have a lapel shaping, which consists of adding some stay tape to the edges of the front pieces and lapel roll line. I machine basted the horsehair canvas to the front of the jacket within the seam allowance.


Some interfacing should be also given to the back of the garment, however I had skipped this step entirely….don’t ask me why?…once this is done shoulder seams are stitched together.

Now is the time to finish off the collar taking into account the turn of the cloth. In simple terms it means that the upper collar must be slightly longer than the undercollar to allow the cloth to curve properly. How much bigger it all depends on the fabric and interfacing weight and thickness. To adjust for the turn of the cloth I basted the collar stand together to hold it in place. Next I put the jacket on the mannequin and turned the collar as it would naturally lay. You can see the difference of fabric required between two layers of the collar pieces.


I marked with pins how much of undercollar need to be cut off.


Taking into account the turn of the cloth I had basted the collar pieces together and cut off the excess fabric.



It is recommended that set-in sleeves are sewn in with a bias strip of lambswool, but I did not have any at home so had to improvised. My jacket was not designed with shoulder pads, so to create a smooth sleeve head line I had used a piece of cotton wadding instead.


To ensure everything stays in place and does not get out of shape I hand basted the front edges and collar of the jacket with temporary stitches. Next, I attached the lining, finished the hems, made buttonholes and belt.


Again, I skipped some steps like interfacing the hem, but because my jacket is a peplum type I thought interfacing may stiffen it too much.


Final thoughts

I really like how it turned out and can honestly say that I see the difference in using a horsehair canvas as interfacing. It allows the jacket to hang over the body properly and it gives the garment the flexibility of movement, which can be a little rigid if using fusible interfacing. I am very excited to learn so much already and am planning to dive even further into the tailoring world.

~did you ever work with horsehair interfacing? ~

Monika xxx



Summary of the 2018

Happy New Year!!!! Hope you had a fantastic time with lots of champagne!!!!

Couple of days ago I had celebrated the very first birthday of this blog! I cannot believe how fast 2018 went by, but if I’m honest with you I am a little disappointed with myself for decreasing amount of posts in the second half of the year…. but fear not…in 2019 I will be a winner!

This past 12 months been filled with ups and downs, but as the saying goes, what does not kill you makes you stronger…..or just more skilled in my situation 🙂

Sew my style 2018

#SewMyStyle Blog Header Image WIde

I had started year 2018 by signing up for my first sewing challenge called Sew my style, where each month we had a specific garment to complete with a chance to win a prize. It is a fantastic challenge that is suitable for sewists of all levels. I felt pretty confident at the beginning of the year,  however half way through the year life took over any and all my free time, leaving me with only minutes to spare to allow for some much needed “me” time, however I had managed to complete 5 projects:

January-Sunny top by Friday Pattern Company


February- Estelle Jacket/Vest by Style Arc


March- Kalle Shirt by Closet Case Patterns


April-Marigold Jumpsuit by Tilly and The Buttons


July-Lander Shorts by True Bias



Pattern testing


Last year I had also become a first time pattern tester, which was exciting and so rewarding. The opportunity came to test a new pattern for Wearable Studio called Canary Cami, and I jumped at the chance to do just that. I filled the application form and shortly after been selected as one of many pattern testers. I must admit that since then I had sewn this pattern 4 times already in different fabrics as it is so comfortable to wear. If you want to find out more about it you can check my other post.



Sew along

Photo by Cocowawa Crafts

Another thing I had done for the first time was to take part in a sew along. One day I had come across a new realize from Cocowawa Craft and their beautiful Honeycomb shirt. At the time I was obsessing about Peter Pan type collars and had to include it in my make. You can see a step by step tutorial on how to do it here.




I had a lot of will and power last year not only to finish my Business degree, but also booked myself for number of courses relating to sewing and pattern cutting.

First in February, I attended a class by Clive Hallett in London Collage of Fashion, called Practical Garment Fitting, where we worked with a real life model. We had a pleasure to see and recognize first hand how ill fitting clothes look like and what is the best way to eliminate the problem. It was a day packed with interesting information.


If you are following my blog , it will not come as a surprise that most clothes do not fit me well, and majority of patterns I need to adjust or alternate one way or another, hence after much consideration of time and money, I had decided that the best way would be to learn more about pattern cutting/drafting more. I learnt a lot about the subject many years ago while going to Dressmaking Collage back in Poland, but never to individual measurements. Inseam Studio runs one on one pattern cutting classes and in May I went to a trial lesson when I got hooked. I would highly recommend it if you are based in London.


In November of last year, I also went to two classes organized by Ray Stitch, with a focus on hand stitching. I yet have to write about it, so watch this place for more information in the near future.

Knitting and Stitching Show


My partner would probably not agree with me, but I had a pleasure to drag him to the Knitting and Stitching Show in March 2018, where I met one and only Lauren Guthrie, a Great British Sewing Bee finalist 2013. It was so nerve wrecking to chat to her, but she is such a wonderful and friendly soul.

Other makes

Besides all the projects for Sew my style challenge I manage to sew something every month. Majority of successful makes you can find it on the blog, some I still need to write a post about, some are total fails which only deserve a brief note.


Cleo Pinafore by Tilly and the Buttons.

In total I had made 4 dresses, two as seen on the photo below, plus one from black corduroy with my pocket hack and one denim with a button front placket. I love all versions and wear them all the time to work.

Molly top by Sew Over It.

As seen below I had made 3 versions, where I was practicing stripe matching 🙂 During the cold weather I love to wear it with my Cleo dresses. It is a great combo.


Agnes top by Tilly and The Buttons

I sewn a little crop top number using Agnes top pattern, as it is such an easy make and the pattern can be altered to different styles. I will make more of them close to summer time.


Holly Communion bag, was a selfless sewing I completed for my BFF’s daughter, who is like nice to me. It was fun little project that I enjoyed making, as much as seeing her happy face.


Ogden Cami by True Bias

This is a great pattern for hot summer days and your leftover buster. It uses only around 1 meter of fabric and since summer I had sewn 3 versions. Even now I am getting ready for heatwave.


As you know, I like to re-use patterns over and over again, so this number is based on Agnes top again, which is shortened to waist length with gathered rectangle for a skirt. My favorite dress from last year.


Time come for some self drafting makes. On completion of my pattern cutting course I was buzzing to get my hands dirty and dive deep into paper, pencil and tape measure….but due to lack of time I only managed to make a half circle skirt with a button front placket. I need to make more of this nowwwww


Last make of the year 2018 that I managed to write about was this self drafted shirt, which turned out quiet well.


There are few other makes I managed to complete last year, but never was satisfied enough to make a blog or just had no spare time to do so.

Eve Dress by Sew Over It- made a dress that I wore for the First Communion of my friend’s daughter in May. I was very happy with this make until I burnt it with an iron. I also made a top version for Christmas Eve, that I will make a post about soon.

Heather Dress by Sew Over It- had to make a few pattern adjustments, but at the end it was worth it and I made 2 different versions. One I wore to work a lot so the fabric look old and used now. The second version I wore during my birthday trip to Disneyland Paris. It was black and white jersey, that for some reason after first wash bleached the color and stained it everywhere.  I had not time to write a post, but am planning to make another number, so will make sure to update you on that.

Bibi skirt by Tilly and The Buttons, it was a fun and quick make, that I gave to a friend of mine, as the style did not suit me. For this reason I did not write anything on this subject, but I might if you would like to find out more. Let me know.

In the last 3 or 4 months I had a go at drafting some tops, but it was a slow and ugly battle that I had mostly failed until the button-up shirt. Promise, I am not going to bore you with details.

Expect some time in the near future a blog post about my self drafting jacket tho. I am very proud of this make and cannot wait to show you how it turned out 🙂


The biggest fail of last year was my attempt of making McCall’s jacket. I was super excited about this project and sewn up most of it including the lining, but I had to make so many fitting adjustments to the pattern, that on the end I had lost all the love for it and gave up. It was a hard decision, as I invested a lot of money and time to make this Jacket, but by the end I knew it would never be worn. The bodice and shoulders were much too long even as a petite size and had drag lines nearly everywhere. Sleeves did not fit me properly either and the waist was too low. I am just not build for this style of Jacket. 😦


Other then that, I had a couple of other fails, that never will see the sunlight and ended up in a bin or my re-use stash, such as Ultimate trousers by Sew Over It. Again, fitting problems were my enemy, but naively I sewn it straight from the pocket without making a toile or checking the fit first. Lesson learnt!!!! I may try to give it a go again this year….

Leni top by Tessuti Fabrics is such a lovely pattern, perfect for hot weather, but the pattern does not have any bust/waist darts and I ended up having similar problems to the Kalle shirt. Need to do full bust adjustments and see if this will eliminate the fit problem.

This is it! WOW, a lot had happen in 2018. I wonder what will 2019 look like ?!??!

~What are your highlights from last year???~

Monika xxx